Q: What is Equivalence?
A: Equivalence is a way for the RCT to determine whether an applicant has equivalent qualifications and experience to someone who has completed one of the primary routes to registration. A set of criteria has been developed which will allow someone who has sufficient experience in their area of work to demonstrate that they are suitable for registration.
Q: Who is Equivalence for?
A: Equivalence is intended as a route to registration for anyone who is working within one of the RCT scopes of practice and does not have access to either of the primary routes to registration. It may be that they have entered the profession at a later stage of their career, but have equivalent qualifications and sufficient experience to register with the RCT.
Q: Is Equivalence an alternative to the primary routes to registration?
A: No, it is expected that the primary routes be followed whenever this is possible or practical to do so. Equivalence is intended for those working in the field that do not have access to these routes, or may have qualified some time ago but do have the experience required for registration.
Q: I am currently on the IPEM Technologist Training Scheme, but can I apply via the Equivalence Route instead?
A: The equivalence criteria require that someone demonstrates they have qualifications and experience equivalent to someone who has completed these schemes. If you have not yet completed the IPEM Technologist Training Scheme then you may not be able to demonstrate this to the assessors. The RCT would recommend you complete the training scheme and apply directly to join the register without needing an equivalence report.
Q: I have qualified overseas but now work in the UK; can I apply to join the RCT via Equivalence?
A: Anyone who has a relevant qualification and can demonstrate they meet the equivalence criteria can join the RCT via this route. Please visit the section of the RCT website applicable to the area in which you work for further information as you may well be eligible.
Q: What is the minimum qualification level required before submitting an application via the Equivalence route?
A: If you do not possess a degree you can still apply via equivalence providing that you are working at degree level and also satisfy the minimum educational criteria of a level 4 qualification or above in a relevant subject area. A level 4 qualification is typically a certificate of higher education (CertHE), higher apprenticeship, higher national certificate (HNC), level 4 award, level 4 certificate, level 4 diploma, level 4 NVQ.
Q: I don’t have a degree; can I still submit an Equivalence application?
A: If you do not have a degree but you can demonstrate that you are working at degree level then you may still submit an equivalence application.
Q: What does ‘working at degree level’ mean?
A: As entry requirements for many professions have changed over the years, there are some staff working in posts which would require a new applicant to hold a degree, however when they were appointed a degree was not a requirement. If this applies to your role then you may be able to demonstrate that you are ‘working at degree level’.
Q: How much work experience is required before submitting an Equivalence application?
A: It is expected that the equivalence portfolio will be a substantial piece of work and not something which can be written overnight. Applicants will be required to provide evidence, maybe going back several years, to demonstrate that they meet the criteria. As a benchmark, a PTP student will undergo a 3 year academic degree which incorporates 50 weeks of work experience placement, and this is the minimum requirement for registration. If someone has not been in employment for at least this length of time then it is highly unlikely that they will be able to demonstrate to the assessors that they are competent enough to be registered.
For sonographers, applicants will be required to demonstrate equivalence to a Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE) accredited primary route award.
Q: If I can’t meet all the Equivalence criteria on the evidence matrix, can I still apply or can I only include those parts I do regularly?
A: Your equivalence application should show that the breadth of your experience and training is equivalent to that of somebody who has joined the register via the primary routes. This may mean that you need to show knowledge of areas of work which do not form part of your day-to-day job, or which are not covered at all in your specific department. The scopes of practice are however, the same regardless of your route onto the register and so you must demonstrate knowledge in all areas for your equivalence application to be successful.
Q: Which area do I apply under if my post does not fall under purely one scope of practice?
A: All equivalence applications should be submitted against the scope of practice which forms the main element of your role. For any areas of this scope which you do not perform then you will need to provide evidence that you have an understanding of the subject. You may however be able to draw on experiences from your other areas to demonstrate you can meet the criteria.
Q: Can I put together my own evidence matrix based on my department and job role?
A: No, all equivalence applications must use the criteria for the relevant scope of practice supplied by the RCT.
Q: What evidence do I need to submit as part of my application?
A: The first thing you will need to do is compile your report to demonstrate you meet all the criteria and evidence will be a vital part of this. Any statements such as ‘I have done X’ or ‘I am directly responsible for Y’ should be evidenced. It is up to the applicant to provide this but it can include copies of service reports, training records or written project reports.
You must provide evidence of English language proficiency where English is not your native language. The requirements are as in the separate FAQ below (please see Are there any other pre-requirements?). This evidence is a pre-requirement and if not included in the portfolio at the correct level will delay portfolio assessment.
Q: How large should my Equivalence portfolio be?
A: The portfolio should contain enough detail to demonstrate you have met the criteria but doesn’t need to be excessively large. We need good evidence to help us determine that you have the experience to be registered, however we don’t need to see copies of your entire training records. Applicants should carefully choose specific examples as evidence rather than providing a hundred pages or more. We are looking for quality, not quantity of evidence.
Q: How do I submit my application, do I need to send paper copies or can I submit electronically?
A: The office retains electronic copies of all applications for audit purposes and applications must be received in electronic format. However, reports may contain data which increases the file size beyond what many email providers will allow, so applications may need to be split before sending (application form, CV, organisation chart, job description, educational certificates and evidence matrix in one PDF and the portfolio in a separate PDF, emailed separately). If you wish to discuss this prior to submission then please contact the IPEM office for help and guidance. Please note that if you do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your application within 7 days of sending, we may not have received it and you should contact us to check this).
Q: Do I have to submit the application form, fee and report together or just the application form and fee and then be given a period to prepare the report?
A: In order for all applications to be processed by the IPEM office as easily as possible, then it is necessary for everything to be sent together. You should wait until your report is complete and ready for assessment before sending your application form and payment.
Q: What does the cost of an Equivalence application cover?
A: The cost of an equivalence application covers the equivalence process itself and the initial registration onto the RCT for the remainder of that calendar year if successful. When the annual renewal is due in January then you will need to pay the registrant fee to remain on the register.
Q: How long does it take before I find out if my application has been successful?
A: The RCT has a team of trained assessors who will endeavour to review all applications in a timely manner, however applications will be reviewed on a first submitted, first reviewed basis. The expected time it will take before you learn the outcome will be at least 4 weeks, however if many applications are received in a short time frame then this may impact on the time taken for them to be assessed.
Q: I joined the register through the grandparenting provision but allowed my registration to lapse and now wish to re-join. Do I need to complete an equivalence application?
Possibly, even if you left the register in good standing without any disciplinary sanctions, then you will still need to complete a full application to re-join and meet the current entry criteria. If you have a qualification which would allow you to join via the primary routes, then you will not need to complete an equivalence application. If this is not the case then you will need to follow the equivalence process.
Q: I am not currently in the UK, can I apply via the equivalence route?
No, you must be based in the UK to follow the equivalence route.
Q: Are there any other pre-requirements?
When applying to the RCT you must demonstrate evidence of English language proficiency. The ability to communicate effectively in English is crucial to working in the UK. This applies to all applicants who trained overseas and are not from a country recognised as one with a majority English speaking population by the United Kingdom Home Office. The requirement applies even if overseas awards obtained were taught in English. Please note that UK NARIC is not an acceptable method for evidencing English Language proficiency for entry onto the register.
Only the following tests can be accepted:
i) International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
We will accept an IELTS academic or general examination certificate that confirms you achieved:
• an overall score of at least 7
• no element of reading, speaking, listening or writing below 6.5
Combining IELTS test scores
You can achieve the required mark across two test sittings if :
• you sit the tests within six months of each other
• you’re tested in all four sections at the same time
• the overall score is at least 7 on the second certificate
• all scores on both sittings are above 6.0
• a minimum of 6.5 is obtained in all four categories across the two tests and that a score of at least 6.5 is obtained in the writing section of the second certificate. Scores of 6.0 across the two tests are allowed provided all other criteria are met.
ii) Occupational English Test (OET)
We will accept an OET examination certificate that confirms you achieved:
• at least a grade B in the writing section (NMC C+)
• only one score lower than B in the other three sections this no lower than C+
Combining OET test scores
You can achieve the required mark across two test sittings if:
• you sit the tests within six months of each other
• you’re tested in all four sections at the same time
• all grades in both sittings are above grade C+, and
• you achieve at least a grade B in all four sections in either of the two test sittings.
For more information please view Examples of combining OET scores